Activision Blizzard will no longer require employees to be vaccinated against Covid as embattled company Call of Duty and World of Warcraft tries to get more people to return to its offices starting in June.
The company said in a company-wide email from Executive Brian Bulatao, shared by Jessica Gonzalez of the ABK Worker Alliance (thanks, Kotaku), that its move reflects similar changes made by other companies in the US.
Bulatao’s email began by noting that conditions in the US are improving – despite the rising tide of new cases caused by the increasingly dominant Omicron BA.2 subvariant and the relatively low percentage of US citizens who are protected by a Covid booster dose.
LEAKED: Brian Bulatao emailed all ABK to talk about returning to office in June. They will not enforce proof of vaccination. I’m sure that the ‘benefits’ of face-to-face collaboration are in fact that the organization of employees can be closely tracked and monitored. Don’t die for this company pic.twitter.com/MSOwWVYBR3
— Jessica Gonzalez 💙 is a Chair 🪑 (@_TechJess) March 31, 2022
“Effective immediately, we are lifting our vaccination mandate for all US employees,” Bulatao wrote. “This means employees no longer need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to return to the office.
“In recent weeks we have seen businesses and other indoor events across the US increasing vaccination requirements and we believe it is important to align our site protocols with local guidelines,” he continued. “While this change in policy addresses our current state of the pandemic, we know the situation is constantly evolving and we will continue to monitor the risks for Covid-19 in all areas where we operate.”
Activision Blizzard employees have been asked to share their vaccination status with the company as part of their employee record. This is important, Bultato wrote, in case cases need to be “pivoted” in the future due to another “spike”.
Staff have criticized the move as a move that increases the level of risk for colleagues who are disabled or immunocompromised, or live with others who are.